My 9th book read for the 2012 48 Hour Book Challenge was Children of Morrow by H. M. Hoover. Children of Morrow is post-apocalyptic science fiction novel for kids, published in 1973. I suspect that this book was one of the first post-apocalyptic novels that I read when I was a kid. It doubtless contributed to my life-long fascination with the genre. I've been meaning to re-read it for several years, ever since my childhood copy turned up, and decided that this was the perfect opportunity.
Children of Morrow is about 12-year-old Tia and 9-year-old Rabbit, who live in a struggling, patriarchal society, many generations after global disasters have nearly destroyed the world. As far as they know, their village is all that remains of mankind. Tia and Rabbit are both outcasts in the village, and they both dream of people from a technologically advanced civilization called Morrow. When a crime puts Tia and Rabbit in imminent danger, they learn (through telepathy) that the people of Morrow are real, and want them. They set out on a dangerous journey, pursued by men from their village, hoping to find a new home.
Most of the story is told from Tia's viewpoint. However, interspersed chapters show the people of Morrow, and fill in details about how Tia and Rabbit came to be, and what happened to civilization.
Children of Morrow is fast-paced and suspenseful. The details of the old world that Tia and Rabbit run across (including a crumbling city) are interesting. Tia and Rabbit are sympathetic characters (unlike just about everyone else from their village). I enjoyed revisiting Tia and Rabbit's world, and I'm curious to re-read the sequel (though I don't believe that I have a copy).
That said, I don't actually think that Children of Morrow holds up compared to modern-day dystopian science fiction. Hoover isn't consistent in her viewpoints. At one point Tia and Rabbit are discovering that an odd green fruit is edible, though they don't know what it is. A chapter or two later, they are eating avocados. When they discover the crumbling buildings, they see a series of balconies. But people raised in their primitive village would hardly have a word for balcony. I understand that using the proper words for things is easier, but this sort of thing took me out of the story. There's also not much emotion or character development to the story - Tia and Rabbit's trials seem to be more physical then emotional. I think that was the style of the day.
I'm glad I took the time to re-read Children of Morrow, because I've been wondering about it, and only vaguely remembering it, for years. I know that it fascinated me as a 10-year-old. Fans of 1970s science fiction, or those interested in checking out older post-apocalyptic novels should certainly give it a look (though it's out of print and probably hard to find). But I'm not going to clamor for Children of Morrow to be brought back to print. The conventions of the genre have expanded since 1973, and I think that there are better, more recent novels to read instead. (But I'm still going to keep an eye out for the sequel, as a gift for my childhood self.)
Publisher: Penguin (@ThePenguinPeeps)
Publication Date: 1973
Source of Book: Bought it, used
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